Suitable definitions of knowledge for particular organisational contexts are valuable for knowledge management (KM). This paper explains why it is valuable, how it can be done and discusses valuable results that have been created by doing it. The why is explained in a brief discussion of relevant literature. The how is described through the use of MaKE First Steps (2006a). This paper summarises the process and this constitutes the methodology of the paper. The paper then describes three diverse organisational contexts in which it has been applied: a UK Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) company; a group of international postgraduate business students; and a large Chinese bank. The outputs of this work (definitions of knowledge for these organisational contexts) are presented and discussed in detail. There are significant patterns that can be discerned which give some clear suggestions about what knowledge is valuable for organisations and should be the focus of managers investment and time. This research gives us an insight into what organisations should focus on in terms of investment of energy, time and resources. Broadly, without being too proscriptive, they should focus on the skills and learning of the personnel that make the organisation they work for, special.
At a time when there is a lot of debate as to what 'knowledge' means in organisations MaKE First Steps provides a practical way of addressing the issue in organisations. It is a practical approach for collaboratively defining knowledge in organisations in such a way that the definition that is created fits an organisation's needs, context and preferences. This paper describes and explains how the process works, how it was tested in a commercial environment and the results of that research. This work is highly relevant to both academics and practitioners, and the author argues that this is an excellent way for employees in organisations to commence knowledge management (KM) practically.
Keywords: automotive industry, business models, collaborative process communal lexicon community of practice corporate strategy corpus linguistics digital economy, empirical knowledge ethnography, human capital hypertext, information communication technology insurance Industry Intellectual capital measurement, interorganisational collaboration inter-organisational relationships knowledge capitalization. knowledge construction, knowledge definition, knowledge economy, knowledge elicitation, knowledge management behaviour, knowledge management context, knowledge management environment, knowledge management practices, knowledge mapping, multivariate analysis protection of knowledge, relationship transformation special language terminology structural capital, tacit knowledge value networks virtual prototype